I ran into Sarah the other day. It was my first time meeting her after 12 years. She's totally gorgeous from head to toe, and wore a beautiful delighted smile after she recognized the shabby pregnant mother was me. My jaw dropped from awe.
Rather than happy, I felt embarrassed. It had been 12 years and nothing had changed. She continues to be beautiful and I become more and more unrecognizable. We were, unexpectedly, were talking to each other about how bad the potatoes in the store were, when suddenly she paused and looked at me intently. I have a feeling in my gut that this elegant women was someone familiar but I just smiled and asked "Why ma'am? Did you forgot something?", and continue searching for good potatoes among the bad ones. Then she hugged me. Awestruck, I stand there speechless, when I heard her crying. My mind whirling with ideas of consolation.
"Eve! How are you? Don't you know me?"
My face stiffened, as I tried hard to remember all the friends I have, I've met, I've been with for quite a long time that I remembered meeting them, when suddenly a familiar face stumbled upon my mind. Sarah Johnson. It's her. I was dumbfounded. Is this really her?
She wiped her tears, laughing. If the child I bear looked at his mother's face that time, I'm sure he'll laugh too. Seeing me so speechless, Sarah stopped laughing.
"Are you alright?"
I just nodded. She looked worried. "Did I got the wrong person?" she said suddenly. "Why...I'm so sorry..."
"Yes, it's me." I said, suddenly realizing what is happening. Her face glowed once more.
Sarah Johnson. Guy's ideal girl. We were friends since elementary school when she asked if I would like to join her to go to the toilet. Ever since, we realize we had a lot in common; we went to school by the same bus, we talk a lot about our last night dreams, we liked the same guy, and we're short-sighted. But I was too little to realize that we have a lot of differences rather than similarities. She was the center of attention, and I wasn't that much significant. She wears beautiful dresses, and I wore my sister's hand-me-downs. The teachers remembered her name very well; they recognize me as my father's daughter, but couldn't remember my exact name. She got new school bags each year, and I used my father's free bags from his seminars that torn easily. After a few days of continuous whining and yelling and got Dad's special pinch, I received another seminar's free bag. Her lunch pack was of luxurious meal, but mine was just simple dishes to fill the stomach at least.
I didn't realize all the differences. All I know is just she's a lucky girl, and I'm luckier that she's my friend. For at least, I'm grateful to be recognized by her, the girl that our class always looked up for.
We were in Grade 7 when she realized that I like another boy. It was a boy that liked her, and I liked him. Such a chain of fate, burdening and irresponsible. I tried to act like I didn't but in front of him I was just like the ordinary love-strucked 10-year-old girl. The puppy love just cannot hide. She teased us a lot, but that doesn't even help. He became further away from me. I'm sure he'll remember me as the desperate disgusting girl that liked him unconditionally just because he liked her friend.
One day, I was sitting at her desk when that boy approach me. I knew it was him, and my heart flutters. She passed me a heart-folded letter, and I read the name on it, half-smiling.
'Sarah Johnson'. That leaves a deep scar in my heart. Worse, he smiled and asked me to asked her if she wants to be his girlfriend. Then I asked him why should I asked her instead of he himself asked her. I hold back my tears and placed the letter in my bag, remembering my friend's pleasant face and said, "Whatever. But don't be so surprised if she rejects you." I prayed for it to be true.
It was. After I handed the letter, my friend read it a bit and threw it into the dustbin.
"Why should I? If he didn't like you, he can't like me."
From that day on, I promised to myself, I will do anything for this wonderful girl.
Until I realized how great she is. I started to feel envious. But envying someone isn't a good thing; it's pathetic. Each time I tried to get attention, she got it. We were answering the same quiz, but her marks was higher. I said I went for holiday to Canada; she went to England. For most of everything, she's a level higher, better than me.
It gets worse when she grew up beautifully, and get more friends than me, and I'm not the one beside her anymore. She met a lot of chances, while I become more passive because of my envy and couldn't stop myself from hating her. I put my smiling face when we were together, but spilled her bad habit to others. I even steal her things, and claimed that it was mine. She didn't speak, but I know she realized what I did. We got further as our 'buddy-talk' started to get fake. I was too busy chasing fame that goes after her. I even set the goal to get whatever she have. She was chosen for school debate; I raised my hand up for the audition for those who want to represent for school debate. We attend different competition, and she was luckier to pass the first round. As she struggled to continue the tournament, I was in class, trying to catch up the learning progress. She did the same later than me, yet she got the first place in the whole class. Still, she didn't look down on me, her continuous support never drains out. But the teacher never stopped looking at her; she was assigned as the club's president, the state's representative for sports competition, etc. etc.. And I'm still the insignificant student.
Sometimes I thought I was her sidekick, living as the extra in her life's drama. Maybe I was the one who create the one chance for her to shine, and she continues the next successful scenes. But it's not. Tired of being left out by the teachers, hopeless with all the envies, I started to accept that I was nobody. I'm just a human, nothing more, nothing less; destined to live the ordinary life. Then I become passive.
Years after our graduation, I heard that she's currently studying to become a doctor for another 2 years, while I'm still in my home, jobless and without a single offer from universities. My mother was so upset with me, that she agreed to marry me with someone's son in the neighborhood. I couldn't agree more, as she couldn't support my life forever. Someone's life will end with marriage, I thought. It really was.
My husband was abusive. He can't stand me walking around, as it made him feel embarrassed. I couldn't count how many times he had said that I'm ugly, and he's so unfortunate to marry me. He even hate me when I dolled myself up. "Pigs wouldn't be a swan even with the beautiful robe." he said.
It's been 5 months that he went away from home. My baby will see the world in 2 months. I was scared, alone, and heartbroken, when suddenly Sarah came back to my life, embracing me without doubt.
I felt her warmth. The long-lost friend; I've felt the fluttering of my heart. We met again my friend. We met again.
Suddenly my tummy felt painful. I frowned and moaned a little. Sarah looked concerned. Then the sickness got worse and I cannot stand on my own feet. Sarah called for help.
"What's the matter, dear?" A familiar voice asked. I cannot look up to see who's coming and who's talking. In a few seconds a lot of buyers who happened to pass us came, and stood helplessly.
"Let's bring her to our car, honey." Sarah said, her voice cracked. Oh, it's her husband. How fortunate she is, as always, to have such a good husband with pleasant voice, and pleasant manner too. With the help of a few woman, we managed to get into Sarah's car. She kept on rushing her husband to drive faster, saying that I'm going to deliver my baby.
As I was pushed on the stretcher to the labour room, the pain feels worse and worse. I gain my strength to look upon Sarah, as she kept on comforting me. And the shock afterwards made me numb.
It was my husband, clutching Sarah's hand, wiping her tears, as the doctor didn't allow them to enter the labour room. His voice echoed in the waiting alley.
"Shushh dear...she'll be fine."
"But I've just met her, dear...I've just met her..." Sarah couldn't stop crying.
"Who is her by the way?" My husband, which is now Sarah's perfect husband, still didn't know that it was his pregnant wife, the one he left 5 months ago, and the woman he had sent himself to the hospital.
But, Sarah last words made me smile.
"She's my best friend."